We present the biochemical and molecular diagnosis of dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (also known as E3 deficiency) and Leigh syndrome in a 14-year-old girl with learning disability and episodic encephalopathy and ketoacidosis. The diagnosis was based on values of plasma amino acids and urine organic acids, obtained during acute encephalopathy, lactic ketoacidosis, and liver failure, precipitated by infectious mononucleosis. Enzymatic and molecular analyses confirmed dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency. E3 activity from cultured skin fibroblasts ranged from 9-29% of the mean. Molecular analysis revealed compound heterozygosity for novel and known pathogenic mutations (p.I353T and p.G136del, respectively). The patient received dietary augmentation and continuous renal replacement therapy, given her severe, persistent lactic acidosis. Acute decompensation resulted in magnetic resonance imaging changes involving the posterior aspect of the putamen, lateral, and medial thalami, substantia nigra, lateral geniculate bodies, and splenium of the corpus callosum. The cortex and subcortical white matter of the right and left occipital lobes and perirolandic region were also affected. In our review of molecularly confirmed patients with dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency, Leigh syndrome was common. Our patient, whose most severe decompensation occurred at a more advanced age than previously reported, provides further evidence of the heterogeneous presentations of dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency.
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